Why I Am Consulting & Blogging Less

Many of you will have noticed that my personal work schedule has changed in 2022. It’s a lot harder to see me, and there haven’t been any blogs (except this one!) I owe you all an explanation.

The truth is that it’s both part of a longer process, and not as big a change as it might appear. First though, let’s talk about the biggest effect it’s had on clients. 

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A Review of Purina’s Cat Allergen Reducing Diet

liveclear allergen reduction

If you have an allergy to cats, or know someone who does, then you know how debilitating it can be. Cat allergens are everywhere, and up to now there’s been precious little you could do except avoid cats altogether. Which for many people has not been possible.

So it was with great hope that here in Australia we awaited the arrival of Purina’s new food designed to reduce human allergies to cats and kittens. Imagine the possible benefits if it works:

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Should I Put My Dog on Vetmedin or Cardisure?

Vetmedin heart treatment

If you have a small dog, there’s a good chance they’ll end up being treated with pimobendan. Often sold as Vetmedin® or Cardisure®, it’s the most common treatment for a very common condition: heart disease in dogs.

One disease in particular, myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) is said to account for 75% of heart disease and affects 85% of small dogs over 13 years old. Not all of these will need treatment, but many will. Later I’ll show you how to tell.

There is no question that recent advances have made MMVD much less of a death sentence than it once was. So it’s good to get to know pimobendan, the newest, and most commonly used of these treatments.

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Is Fish Oil Good For Arthritis In Dogs?

home medications dog

When faced with arthritis in their dogs, owners often turn to products like glucosamine, turmeric or hemp oil. What always surprises me is how few dog owners try fish oil before I suggest it. I suspect the reason is that it’s hard to use well, and easy to get wrong.

Here I’m going to lead you through the evidence and end with advice on how to use fish oil most effectively.

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Comparing Prices Between Vets: What To Consider

vet at night

Vets are businesses, and like any other their prices will vary. However, it’s very hard for the average consumer to understand what the price of any specific procedure means.

Here I’m going to help you, not by giving you the answers, by giving you the right questions to consider. Sometimes the difference will be due to the pricing policy, but often there are other factors at play.

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We Need A Better Online Pet Chemist System

dog getting medicine

This week I’ve done two new things:

  1. Made a police report against a former client
  2. Complained to the Pharmacy Council of New South Wales

It was pure luck that we found out about the fraud, and it’s taught us all a valuable lesson: that the online pet pharmacy system is not fit for purpose. It must change.

As the friendly policeman said later, he could understand her actions because the temptation was put in her path. The real problem is that it was so easy.

Here’s what happened.

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Help! My Dog Has A Splenic Tumour

old german shepherd

One of the most common tumours of dogs is haemangiosarcoma of the spleen. This is a malignant cancer of blood vessels found especially in large breeds like German Shepherds. But just because they’re common doesn’t mean that every lump on a dog’s spleen is malignant.

Many of these dogs can go on to lead a normal life with the right treatment. Others cannot be saved, and treatment could do more harm than good.

Here I’m going to help you decide what to do if a vet finds a mass in your dog’s spleen.

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Help! My Puppy Pees Inside Just After I’ve Taken Him Out

puppy toileting outside

You spend an hour standing around on the grass and nothing happens. Then, almost as soon as you come back inside, your puppy pees in the house right in front of you!

You’ve read all the tips for toilet training. You understand the theory. So why does this happen?

There’s actually quite a simple explanation and a not-so-simple solution. Be prepared for some basic neurology!

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Why Native Animals As Pets Is A Terrible Idea

Australian native pet

Every few years there’s a story in the Australian media saying we should be keeping native mammals as pets. This always fills me with horror.

For I’m a vet working with pets in the Australian state with the slackest rules on owning native animals and I see the results. I also hold a Masters degree in Wildlife Medicine and Husbandry and have worked in zoological medicine.

I hope that by the time you finish this, you’ll understand why there are some animals who are uniquely suited to being pets, and others that almost never are. I’ll also debunk some common myths about keeping native animals everywhere, not just Australia.

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Is A Raw Diet Good For Puppies?

dog raw diet

Australian raw feeders are still coming to terms with the horse meat scandal that killed and maimed so many Victorian dogs. Given the potential risk of buying pet meats, it begs the question: is it worth it?

In my vet practice we support raw feeding, but that doesn’t mean we don’t also have a watchful eye. I’ll cover the risks first. By knowing them and their solutions, you can do it more safely.

Afterwards, I’ll feature some of the first evidence to show a benefit for raw puppy foods.

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Cat With Trouble Breathing? Here’s How To Tell

cat sitting on chair

One of the saddest things I see are cats with breathing difficulties. That’s because they’re almost always brought to the vet too late. In fact, by the time their owners notice, they often don’t survive the car trip.

Here I’m going to give you a very simple trick to recognise when a cat is struggling to breathe. If you do it successfully, your cat will probably be OK.

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The Dog Deaths From Raw Meat: What Went Wrong

indigofera distribution picture

Update 3 August: What a difference a week makes!

The Maffra District Knackery has now admitted that they processed horses from the Northern Territory.

Now read on to see why it was always the most likely explanation…

An outbreak of liver failure in Victorian dogs has been linked to raw meat from a local supplier. At least 14 dogs died and a further 30 were hospitalised.

I’ve been following the story carefully. The more we know the stranger it gets.

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Help! My Dog Ate An Almond

almonds in bowl

Try searching “can dogs eat almonds” and you’ll see dire warnings, like “7 Dangers of Almonds for Dogs” or “Why Almonds Are Bad for Dogs“.

This is absolute rubbish and internet myth-making at its worst. Why is everyone so afraid of almonds? Because they only read each others’ blogs instead of trusting evidence or experience.

It’s always safer to say ‘no’ than ‘yes’, isn’t it! Here I’ll go through each of those ‘seven ways’ and demonstrate their lack of accuracy.

And what do you know, they actually missed a real problem too.

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Having Trouble Getting That Dog Breed? Think Laterally!

pure breed photos

I had two very enlightening conversations last week. 

The first was from a frustrated ex- Cavalier owner who has been waiting over 12 months to get a Golden Retriever puppy. According to the breeders she’s talking to, she’s not even any closer.

The second was from the owner of a new (second) Golden Retriever puppy. She said that due to unprecedented demand, her breeder is only selling to people she’s sold to before. 

Clearly, these two observations are flip sides of the same problem. So before I give you some suggestions, let’s look at what’s happening.

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A Lump In Your Cat’s Belly Is Not Always Cancer

cat lying on carpet

I want to share with you a very sobering paper that should make us think harder anytime we feel a lump in a cat’s belly.

Five cats were presented to a veterinary teaching hospital with abdominal masses that could be felt during a routine exam. They all had the classic signs of intestinal obstruction: vomiting, listlessness and not eating.

The two eldest cats died. One, because her owner thought it was cancer and had her put down. The other, due to a delay in treatment, most likely due to a similarly fatalistic attitude.

The diagnosis in these five cases was a hairball. A thoroughly treatable problem.

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A Review Of Apple’s AirTag To Find My Cat!

cat airtag location

Like most kitties these days, my cat is supposed to be indoors. I say supposed, because despite my best efforts, he does not always agree.

Fast asleep he may appear, but as soon as a door or window opens, up comes his periscope head. If you aren’t quick enough, or the lock doesn’t click, he’s gone. Next thing, the whole family is out with torches (not the flaming kind but it feels that way) until he’s found and returned.

We do this because outdoor cats run a high risk of road trauma, fight abscesses and FIV infection. But sometimes he’s impossible to find. So I’ve always been interested in smart tech to help me, and recently I invested in an AirTag.

However, it may not be the best option.

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Should I Clean Inside My Dog’s Ears?

What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot actually.

Ear cleaning can be a great way to improve the health of your dog’s ears but it can also cause a lot of harm. Therefore, it’s important to know if it’s the right treatment for your dog.

Here I’m going to help you recognise when ear cleaning is beneficial & when it’s harmful. Everything I say here also applies to cats.

In two weeks I’ll talk about how to do it and what to use.

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How Far Is Too Far To Walk A Dog?

dog on long walk

With more people working from home than every before, there’s a new question: am I walking my dog too much?

And indeed, over the past year we have seen many dogs over-exercised. But then there are dogs like my Loki. One day last week he pulled me for 25km and then ran laps around the yard afterwards!

So it’s complicated, and there’s no one answer. Each day and each dog is going to be different.

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Vet Sees People Manipulated By Clickbait, You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!

cat dog beach fishing

OK, jokey title aside, this is serious.

Are you struggling under the weight of too many choices? Everyone telling you how you must use a certain food, or a special remedy? You’re in good company.

Linus Pauling was one of the greatest scientists of all time, but even that didn’t save him. Despite groundbreaking discoveries and a Nobel Prize, he is perhaps most famous for the wrong reason.

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Which ACL Surgery Is Best For Dogs?

tplo tta mmp dog

So your 15kg dog has torn an ACL You know that a lateral suture technique is no good at this size. One vet has told you need an MMP, another a TTA and. third a TPLO.

What do all these random letters mean for your dog? Which one is better?

Here you won’t find an opinion; you’ll find the facts from research papers that compare these cruciate surgery techniques. This is the most-studied surgical procedure in veterinary science.

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A Critical Review Of Feliway For Cats

Feliway diffuser spray

For nearly my whole career, I have used and recommended Feliway® for situations involving feline anxiety and stress. These might be urine spraying, inter-cat aggression, or even trips to the vet and cattery.

I have always been reassured that there is strong scientific evidence for its effectiveness. So it took until 2021 for me to do a thorough literature review of my own. I was shocked by what I found.

It’s not that Feliway doesn’t work at all. It’s just that it probably doesn’t work for most of the things it’s been promoted for.

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Cat Curfews & Confinement In Australia

stray cat

Driven by high levels of public approval, Australia is haphazardly but relentlessly moving towards greater containment of cats. I support cat curfews, and keep my own cat inside, but I still have concerns.

The big problem with cat laws in Australia is that they seem to be enacted by those who know the least about cats. It’s leading to unrealistic expectations and poor results.

I’ll discuss why that is in a minute, but to not sound negative I’ll start with the benefits of curfews.

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Had A Bad Vet Experience? Please Read This

Dog and laptop

Last week when I wrote about the shortage of Australian veterinarians, I laid the problems of our industry bare. Poor work conditions, inadequate support and low pay are just a few. They’re leading to what some people see as a crisis for the veterinary profession.

There’s something else contributing to the problem that I did not mention, because it’s tricky to bring up without blaming innocent people. It’s the deterioration of the relationship between vets and pet owners.

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